How sports and band practice march on during the pandemic

COVID and the Classroom

ST. LOUIS – Many schools have begun sports and music practice and are taking precautions so they can keep playing. The Marquette High School band began practice last week. They want to play so that means wearing masks inside and outside.

It won’t stop Band Director Christian Pierce from being heard.

“Part of our training in being band directors out on the field – you’ve got to be able to shout multiple yards – so this is not much of a barrier,” said Christian Pierce, Band Director.

Pierce, who graduated from Lafayette High School in 2010, said they’re doing everything they can to keep playing. They’re splitting up into at least five groups of no more than 30 people. There is one group who isn’t always able to wear masks.

“All of our wind players – so the ones who will be expelling possibly aerosolizing anything they might have. They’re going to be outdoors the entire time.”

Andy Oitker wears a mask even when he’s playing.

“If we don’t take these precautions then these fun things we have like band or other sports they won’t happen,” said Andy Oitker.

He said the rules are not too difficult to follow because he said living without music would be impossible.

“It’s something that changes my life every day – without music I’d be a completely different person,” said Oitker.

Rabbi Moshe Glazer from Torah Prep feels similarly with sports.

“In my opinion sports is one of the most important parts of school because that’s when the interpersonal relationships come in – and without that gives everyone their self-confidence, everyone feels good about themselves,” said Glazer.

Most Torah Prep students at the day camp have been wearing masks even outside and have been socially distancing.

“I think part of the reason is we were on zoom for so long for 4 months and these kids know the only way they can come to school or come to camp is to wear a mask – they’re for lack of a better word ‘dying’ to come back to school,” said Glazer.

Eighth Grader Eliyahu Kula hopes this is also what it will look like on the playground when they return to school. 

“We may have to do a little less people because it’s a little smaller. But I’m hopeful I’ll be able to play with my friends like this,” said Kula.

Schools hope to bring the sports and the music together eventually.

But even big band practice will be split up indefinitely, but still work to make music together as one.

“When we finally come together it’s going to be the most amazing experience ever,” said Oitker.

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